News: 30 Under 30 Music: From Cardi B To Playboi Carti, The Class Of 2018 (forbes)
30 Under 30 Music: From Cardi B To Playboi Carti, The Class Of 2018
The 19-year-old singer known mononymously as Khalid is a natural fit for a list of the world’s most influential teenagers. Buoyed by smash single “Location,” which has clocked more than 370 million Spotify spins, his March debut American Teenzoomed to No. 4 on Billboard‘s album charts and earned platinum certification from the RIAA. As such, he holds his own even with industry game-changers up to a decade older than him, landing a spot in the 30 Under 30 Music Class of 2018.
“He’s galvanized so many teens who previously never thought it was possible to obtain their dreams after high school, and his music speaks directly to them,” says Kevin Olusola, Grammy-winning member of singing group Pentatonix. “I’m so proud of everything he’s accomplished, and I’m excited to watch his artistry grow.”
Olusola is part of the expert panel of judges who helped select this year’s 30 Under 30 class in the Music category, along with singer-songwriter Skylar Grey (a fellow 30 Under 30 alum) and Bob Moczydlowsky (the managing director of startup incubator Techstars Music), as well as yours truly and my Forbes colleague Natalie Robehmed.
Our list highlights best and brightest singers, songwriters, rappers, DJs, agents, managers and entrepreneurs in the business. The only requirement, aside from receiving the most votes from our judges, is that candidates must be under age 30 as of December 31, 2017, and must not have appeared on a previous 30 Under 30. This year’s honorees hail from genres ranging from hip-hop to country to contemporary Christian, and vary in age from 17-year-old opera sensation Jackie Evancho to 29-year-old pop maestro Mike Posner.
“There is more than what meets the eye with Mike Posner,” says Grey. “Although he’s had a big career as an artist, his songwriting abilities have made him responsible for many other artists’ hits. With all he’s accomplished by age 29, this is like the ‘lifetime achievement’ award of 30 Under 30.”
Though Posner’s best-known hit, “I Took A Pill In Ibiza,” feels more like pop–or even country–than hip-hop, he got his start working with some of the biggest rappers on the planet, from Lil Wayne to Big Sean. That’s a good place to be these days: According to Nielsen, R&B/Hip-Hop is now the most popular genre in America, accounting for more than a quarter of total music consumption. Much of that boom has come from the names on our list.
Examples include Cardi B, whose smash “Bodak Yellow” this year made her the first female rapper to top the charts without any other billed acts since 1998. The track may have gone gold, but there are diamonds in her future: She got engaged to fellow rapper Offset (of fellow 30 Under 30 honoree Migos) in October. A verse on the Atlanta trio’s viral hit “Bad And Boujee” helped Philadelphia native Lil Uzi Vert, another listmember, become last year’s most-followed artist on SoundCloud.
Other rappers among the ranks include Brooklyn phenomenon Young M.A, Kanye West protege Travis Scott and this year’s 30 Under 30 callout, Playboi Carti, whose single “Magnolia” has clocked more than 130 million spins on Spotify. When will Carti and his peers make the jump from this list to our rankings of hip-hop’s top earners alongside the likes of Jay-Z, Diddy and Dr. Dre? “We’ll see,” said Carti. “Hopefully tomorrow.”
The 30 Under 30 Music Class of 2018 has also unmasked previously anonymous stars Marshmello and H.E.R. while including behind-the-scenes players like WondaGurl, a producer responsible for hits by Rihanna and Drake; Chris Zarou, the manager of suicide prevention advocate Logic; and Emily Warren, who has penned songs for the likes of The Chainsmokers and Shawn Mendes.
“Her sound and style of writing is so fresh, and I find a lot of other writers trying to emulate it,” says Grey of Warren. “She’s young, but she’s been in the game for a while, so this isn’t some flash-in-the-pan writer. I think she’ll be killing it for a long time.”
Music’s next frontier is the use of artificial intelligence in creating songs. And the 30 Under 30 music category has that covered with Amper founder Drew Silverstein.
“When it comes to music made by software, Amper is one of the world’s leading companies,” says Moczydlowsky. “Part of this comes from Drew’s experience as a composer and sound designer, part of it is just his willingness to work insanely hard … the impact of AI and machine learning on music–whether that machine learning is supervised or unsupervised–will be transformative.”
The 30 Under 30 music list was edited by Zack O’Malley Greenburg and Natalie Robehmed.
What do you think of the list? Join the conversation on Twitter with #30under30
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